Sam Ruttenberg

Sam Ruttenberg

5.0 (6)
1 employee
39 years in business

About this pro

I'm one of the leading Jazz drum teachers in the Philadelphia area. That's because I also have a classical background (Juilliard) and I can convey concepts and specific technique in a unique way that you'll easily understand. I taught the drummer who plays with Branford Marsalis, and other Jazz players in the Philadelphia area. One young man moved all the way from Paris to study Jazz drums with me. I was also a longtime student of Legendary Jazz drummer Joe Morello, and helped him write his Master Studies II Book.

I love making drummers better and more passionate about drumming. I love the learning process as well. My students stay on for long perids of time becuase I'm passionate about drumming and I challenge them to become better players.   

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Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
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6 Reviews


  • Joshua Hansen

    I have been working with Sam now for just over a year now and there has been a significant amount of improvement in my playing. Sam always takes the time to explain anything I may have questions about and is very patient and professional. Not only has he been a fantastic and dedicated instructor, but he has also become motivational and inspirational.

  • Jeff Day

    Sam is dedicated to helping your son or daughter get better at percussion in all facets. He has the expertise and passion to help your son or daughter get to the next level. Our son has enjoyed the lessons a great deal and has grown tremendously. We highly recommend Sam to others.

  • Jacqueline

    There is no better percussion teacher than Sam Ruttenberg! He truly cares about his students. The best part about working with Sam, is that you are going to learn no matter what! He has a gift for teaching. 🥁

  • Indrojit Chatterjee

    Sam is a very motivated teacher who wants the best for each of his students. He hones in on what specifically each student needs to grow into a stronger player. He is definitely one of the best tutors I've had and would recommend him to any student who is starting out on percussion.

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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I assess each student and provide the proper instruction acording to their needs and desires. Playing along with recorded music is also an intigral part of the lesson.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

Sam Ruttenberg Biography

With a background in both drum set and percussion performance, Sam Ruttenberg has performed with artists Dave Brubeck, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, and Lena Horne to name just a few. He has performed with the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Orchestra 2001, Salute to Vienna Orchestra, and the Philly Pops. He is also an active drum set clinician, presenting clinics in the United States, Europe, Ukraine, and South America. Sam has toured and recorded with the Houston Symphony, Ballet, and Pops Orchestras, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall, and the Kennedy Center.

Sam’s students include Justin Faulkner (Branford Marsalis). He has also given lessons to John Roberts (Janet Jackson), Shirazette Tinnin (Tia Fuller), and taught a drummer in Paris who made the move to Philadelphia to study with Sam at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Sam has also taught students via Skype in Finland, France, Portugal, Ukraine, and Singapore.

Many of Sam’s students perform in the Sinfonia Youth Orchestra of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra, the Kimmel Center Jazz Program, as well as the All South Jersey, NJ All State, and All National Bands.

Sam teaches (since 1994) at the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia and has taught at Camden County College, and Rutgers University Camden. Sam is also on the board of the Professional Drum Teachers Guild, and was named one of the top drum teachers worldwide from Modern Drummer Magazine in “Dom Famularo’s Teachers List” (Modern Drummer November 2015).

Sam has written articles for PAS Percussive Notes and Modern Drummer Magazine. Sam was a longtime student of Joe Morello, and transcribed and worked closely on the creative aspect of his Master Studies II book. Sam also wrote his own book entitled “Drum Tips” (HoneyRock 2009).

Sam also created the HingeStix® practice drumsticks, a learning tool that teaches drummers the free stroke rebound, finger technique, proper grip , and double and buzz stroke roll. The HingeStix won BEST in SHOW at NAMM 2011 and was picked up by the Vic Firth Drumstick Company.

Sam received a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Miami, a Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School, and has endorsements with Sabian, Vic Firth, Remo, and Ludwig.

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

$80 per hour

How did you get started teaching?

I started teaching at 18 when my teacher asked me if I could start teaching his overload. At that point I loved it.

What types of students have you worked with?

All ages, levels, and styles. Teaching keeps me sharp and my students know I'm giving them 100%.  

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

One of my students won top high school timpani player in the entire United States. So proud!

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Go to someone who has alot of knowledge and can convey it and play it!!

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

Students often ask when will they become a good player? That depends on them and their desire to get better. Consistency in your practice is the key.

Lessons offered